US Open...Last And First Recollections

Mark Winters

Forty-five years ago, the US Open transitioned. It moved from an exclusive tree-lined neighborhood with homes that showcased magnificent Colonial Revival style architecture to the fourth largest park in New York City, an area that had been wetlands, and was a 29-minute, six-mile drive away.

Looking back, I have a medley of memories from the last year at the Westside Tennis Club and the first year at Flushing Meadow (which didn't become Meadows until an "s" mysteriously appeared sometime after the tournament began at its new location), Corona Park in Queens, New York.


Following the 1977 tournament, the relationship between the venerable and exclusive West Side Tennis Club, in Forest Hills, New York that had been the cathedral of the US National Championships, (which became the US Open in 1968), came to an end after 62 years.


William "Slew" Hester Jr., the incoming United States Tennis Association President, spotted an enormous expanse of land, blanketed in snow, as he was about to land at New York's La Guardia Airport in January 1977. It was just across the boardwalk from Shea Stadium, where the New York Mets played baseball and the Jets football games took place. Regrettably, the Singer Bowl/Louis Armstrong Stadium was in disrepair...


Guillermo Vilas after his victory.

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Mark Winters has been a tennis journalist for 50 years. During that time, he has been a staff writer for Florida Tennis, Inside Tennis, Tennis Magazine, Tennis Life and Tennis Week. His freelance articles have appeared in the Los Angeles Times, Los Angeles Daily News, and USA Today.

He has also contributed features to numerous other tennis and media outlets worldwide. Mark played on both the intercollegiate and professional levels. He coached college tennis and was a US Boys' Junior Davis Cup Team coach, working with Pete Sampras and Jim Courier among others.

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